At 7:22 am on the morning of the 1st of May 1955 Stirling Moss and his co driver Denis Jenkinson sitting in today’s featured Mercedes Benz # no.4 registered W21-6170 were flagged away for the start of the Mille Miglia from Viale Venezia in Brescia with 525 cars ahead of them and just six more to start at one minute intervals behind them.
With the aid of course notes recorded on an 18ft roll of paper, edited from their six reconnaissance drives along the entire route, Denis used 15 hand signals to keep Stirling informed of what was coming up ahead over the 1000 mile course via Rome back to Brescia.
10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds later Stirling and Denis crossed the finish line to record the all time fastest race average speed of 97.96mph / 157.65 kmh over the course which actually measured only 992 miles, and become only the second non Italians to win the event after Rudolf Caracciola and riding mechanic Wilhelm Sebastian won with their Mercedes-Benz SSKL in 1931.
Juan Manuel Fangia came home second in the 300 SLR # no.3 31 mins and 45 s behind the winners in one of the greatest solo drives of all time.
Stirling Moss then drove # no.4 to a second place finish behind Fangio in the non championship Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring before Karl Kling and André Simon were entrusted with the car at Le Mans where it was withdrawn by the board of directors at Mercedes Benz after the fatal accident that killed team mate Pierre Levegh and 84 spectators .
Stirling drove # no.4 to another second place finish in the non championship Swedish Grand Prix behind team leader Fangio to keep up the models remarkable 1-2 finishing record in all events completed.
Amazingly Stirling then drove # no.4 to two more World Championship sports car victories in the RAC TT at Dundrod with John Fitch and in the Targa Florio with Peter Collins so that this car has the rare record of finishing 1st in every World Championship event which it completed.
Stirling Moss called this car which he is seen driving in these photographs at Goodwood Festival of Speed, “The greatest sports racing car ever built — really an unbelievable machine.” Which is why it is probably the most desirable Mercedes Benz ever built and possibly the most desirable car ever built.
Thanks for joining me on this “An Unbelievable Machine” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a hot French Simca. Don’t forget to come back now !